Receding gums are a common dental problem that often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe. Many wonder if their receding gums can grow back, much like other body tissues. The truth is, unlike skin or hair, gum tissue does not regenerate itself on its own. However, there are ways to manage and treat gum recession effectively. In this blog, we will explore why gums recede, how to take care of them for a healthy smile, and how gum grafting procedures can help restore your gum health.
Understanding Gum Recession
Gum recession refers to the process in which the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or its root. This can lead to sensitivity, discomfort, and trouble brushing, which can negatively impact both your oral health and aesthetics.
Why Gums Do Not Regenerate
Gum tissue, like any other part of the body, has a certain capacity for regeneration. However, once the gum tissue is severely damaged or lost, it does not regenerate on its own. This is primarily due to the lack of sufficient blood supply and the presence of bacteria in the oral environment. Unlike other tissues in the body, gum tissue is constantly exposed to bacteria, plaque, and other factors that can exacerbate damage and inhibit healing.
What Causes Gums to Recede?
There are several reasons why gums might recede, including:
Poor Dental Hygiene: Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash can lead to gum disease, a significant cause of gum recession.
Aggressive Tooth Brushing: Brushing too hard can also cause gums to recede.
Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to gum recession and gum disease.
Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones during a woman's lifetime can make gums more sensitive to inflammation, which makes them vulnerable to recession.
Tooth Positioning: Teeth that are out of alignment may be more prone to recession.
Tobacco Use: The nicotine in tobacco and heat from smoking reduces the gum tissue’s ability to heal and increases inflammation, which can cause gum recession. Smokeless tobacco can cut the gum tissue, making it more prone to recession.
Taking Care of Your Gums
Maintaining your gum health requires a consistent oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss your teeth daily and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth clean. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial as they can help detect early signs of gum disease and recession.
Avoid aggressive brushing if you are experiencing gum recession, as it can further damage the gums. Instead, opt for a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently clean your teeth. Certain electric toothbrushes are equipped with pressure sensors to help you brush with the correct amount of pressure to clean your teeth without brushing away your gum tissue.
Gum Grafting Procedures
While receding gums cannot grow back naturally, it is possible to restore your gum line using gum grafting procedures.
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that typically involves taking a small piece of tissue from one area (like the roof of your mouth) and transplanting it to the area where the gums have receded.
Gum grafting is beneficial for:
- Stopping gum recession
- Protecting root surfaces from decay
- Reducing tooth sensitivity
- Improving the aesthetic look of your smile
- Reducing tooth discomfort
- Keeping your teeth healthy long term
Different types of gum grafts include connective-tissue grafts, free gingival grafts, and pedicle grafts. The type of procedure recommended for you depends on your specific needs.
Speak with a Periodontal Specialist
Even though your gums do not regenerate on their own the same as your other body tissue, there are still options for you to have the healthy and beautiful smile you are looking for. The specialists at Four Rivers Periodontics and Implant Specialists offer expert gum graft surgery to prevent further gum recession and protect your oral health.
For more information about our grafting procedures or our other offerings, visit us online or contact us today.